More senseless development

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The news that six homes have been approved for Powder Hill may please Quidi Vidi Village but most of us look towards the village, and see just the green hill. It has felt like a park.

It is a park. Does anyone remember that?

When Loblaws built its supermarket in King George V Park, it was because the council of that time decreed that they could sell the land … which was part of the park.

A local doctor suggested a concert hall on the lake … which would have made us a star attraction around the world.

But the only vision on council at that time was of a large D (I can think of a short and pithy word beginning with that letter).

The Tiffany Towers project is another decision recently approved by council  on the flight path leading to and from the airport, the developer will put up two 16-storey towers.

This decision was made despite the protests of people who live there and know that square block of land is heavily populated — at least half of it ought to have been kept as green space.

On a foggy day any pilot will have to be warned to keep well above the towers.

I can imagine it may be hard to sell a penthouse suite with a jetliner rumbling a hundred feet above you.

I wouldn’t bet on the towers being highly sought after residences.

As for the other apartment buildings, homes, and institutional residences on the same square block of land, who cared about them?

Not this City.

A couple of friends have just returned from a year in Boulder, Colo. Over dinner the other night we heard how the city of Boulder is operating so that it has a booming economy and a beautiful face to present to the world.

The city itself owns 70,000 acres of green space, which will remain green space.

The county owns 100,000 acres: ditto.

That is forward thinking.

The environment there is considered so valuable that in that city (population of 100,000) conservationists, ecologists, biologists of many types are considered highly necessary and are permanent employees of the city and county governments.

People clamour to live in Boulder, but many have to commute from satellite towns some miles away because housing prices and land prices in the city are so high.

Boulder’s council are keeping their eyes on saving what is valuable, whereas our once-stunning City of St. John’s has been extremely busy killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

I have found few people who approve of what the city is doing to its image, and a great many who do not.

I wish more people were in the habit of speaking out, but they have discovered something: no one in government will listen.

That’s because governments like their bread buttered whichever side lands uppermost.

And sadly, in St. John’s, the bread seems to fall to those who care nothing about what made this place a perfect place to live: its natural beauty.

It’s fast disappearing behind towers and structures which hog the views.

Those running for council in the fall look like more of the same.

Sad, sad times.


Judy Gibson

St. John’s

Organizations: Loblaws

Geographic location: Quidi Vidi Village, Boulder, King George V Park Boulder, Colo.

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Recent comments

  • JMPA
    August 03, 2013 - 20:31

    I am tired of sending in comments only to have them discarded. I sent in one last night re the you decide based on content or freedom to speak our piece????????

  • JMAP
    August 02, 2013 - 23:27

    I wholeheartedly agree with Judy Gibson's letter and her points about the new buildings recently approved and the two 16-story towers off Mount Cashel Rd. which is certainly not equipped to deal with this amount of traffic. Those buildings will destroy the view of the harbour from the top of Portugal Cove Rd. I have to ask why do we have building regulations that say nothing above 10 stories and then council approves 16....why have regulations at all if your not going to abide by them. The same applies to the new restaurant at Mallard Cottage, not enough parking, and still they approve it. Isn't there enough traffic in the village already??? I for one will be voting against current councillors wanting to be reelected in my area, and I would suggest that others do the same. We need to be much more vocal and more visible in our discontent. Thank you Judy Gibson for planting the seed.

  • Tony Rockel
    August 02, 2013 - 12:17

    The O'Keefe cabal would be perfectly happy to see the Dark Tower of Mordor rise up the the City of St John's--just as long as they could tax it.

  • Eli
    August 02, 2013 - 11:34

    Jon is Boo-bird #1 Anna.

  • Hard Truths
    August 02, 2013 - 11:30

    Well what Boulder doesn't have a city population that is willing to put up with city worker who make so much above the prevailing wage. Thank the unions for the lack of money at City Hall.

  • Anna
    August 02, 2013 - 08:29

    All I can say is thank God for the Johnson Family Foundation, without them, this would be one ugly city. I'm still waiting to hear about Council's plan for all the excess traffic that will be generated in Pleasantiville due to all the new developments there. I don't think the Boulevard is equipped to handle this nor Quid Vidi Village. This council is out of control when it comes to development. Jon, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    • Eli
      August 02, 2013 - 09:40

      Anna, you wouldn't be out of line if you added Shannie Duff as another Saviour. You and Ms. Gibson's letter shine light on that shameless council. Their supporters will encourage the boo-birds to take issue with your points of view 'tho.

  • Virginia Watersa
    August 02, 2013 - 07:18

    Not only have O'Keefe and company been unabashed promoters of inappropriate, unsustainable development, but the breakneck pace of that development can be tied directly to increases in municipal taxes. In effect, existing homeowners and taxpayers are subsidizing each and every new building approved for construction. The public consultation process is a farce. As one councillor quipped in advance of public hearings on Tiffany Lane - a mere technicality. Even the additional step requiring a provincial government amendment to the City of St. John's Act to accommodate the 16 stories is considered a slam-dunk. I was inside the supermarket in the old stadium for the first time a few weeks ago - not to purchase anything but to look at the building. I was struck by its sheer ugliness and, like the writer, thought what a magnificent concert hall and cultural addition to Quidi Vidi it could have made. The crop of councillors for some time now at City Hall have been little more than pawns of the big developers who will be even more emboldened in their demands now that the 'Tiffany Twin Towers' have been cleared for landing. If Doc has his way, the harbour will soon be hemmed in by ugly towering structures, fences, and grossly overpriced restaurants. You'll need a helicopter to find a view-plane anywhere in the downtown. And already the usual suspects are lined up to perpetuate the 'develop or perish' mentality in the quadrennial race for the concrete bunker a couple of months from now.

  • Jon
    August 02, 2013 - 07:03

    Another senseless opinion piece.

    • Politically Incorrect
      August 02, 2013 - 07:58

      Wow! The dance between logic and fact in your argument was that of an intellectual ballet. You sure told her!

    • Jon
      August 02, 2013 - 09:56

      If Tiffany Towers was a problem for airplanes, I'm sure the airport or Transport Canada would object to the proposal. They are 16 story buildings, not 100. She argues about lack of green space. The original proposal was for 5 shorter buildings, meaning more land would be taken up with building footprints. The arguments against this proposal are silly to say the least. First it was shadows on a school, now this writer is worried about airplanes! Give me a break, we aren't building the CN tower. So ask yourself, would you rather have 5 shorter buildings, taking up lots of space, or 2 buildings that take up less than half of that space. I'm sure the airplanes will be ok and we won't have a repeat of September 11th. Also, how else do you propose we house people in this city? Keep building sprawing single detached houses as far as the eye can see?